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ICO Calls for views on GDPR update to Direct Marketing Guide

Published on 20 December 2018

What should we expect from the ICO’s updated Direct Marketing Guide?

The background

According to Section 122(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) must prepare a direct marketing code of practice, taking recent data protection legislation into account.

The data protection changes that are particularly relevant to direct marketing, and are therefore likely to be covered by the guidance, are the requirements around transparency, lawful bases for processing and consent. 

The development

The ICO has announced that it will be updating its existing direct marketing guidance.  It opened a call for views on 12 November.  This will shut on 24 December 2018.  The questions in the survey include:

  • what data protection changes should the ICO focus on in their direct marketing code?
  • are there any direct marketing changes that should be included?
  • is the content in the guide relevant to your organisation?
  • do you agree that an updated version should be published before the ePrivacy Regulation is finalised?
  • are there any case studies that you would like to see included?

The call for views is the first step of the ICO’s process.  It is likely to be several months before we see a new version of the code published. 

Why is this important?

Interested parties have the opportunity to give their views on what would be most helpful in a new code.  The more submissions that the ICO have from affected organisations, the more useful the guidance is likely to be.

The guidance provided by the ICO will be a useful resource for direct marketers.  The new code should provide clarity on areas of the DPA which are relatively vague, and which lack practical examples.

The bigger question is how any guidance will sit with the ePrivacy Regulation (still in draft form, but likely to land in 2019/2020).  The latter really is a game-changer on the use of data for direct marketing, and not in a good way!